PUCL boss files FR application in his personal capacity

Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), Janaka Ratnayake, has filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) Application before the Supreme Court challenging the February electricity tariff hike, he said in a statement issued to the media on Friday.

The statement issued on Ratnayake’s personal letterhead said the FR Application was filed both in his capacity of an electricity consumer and in the public interest, especially in the interest of those falling within the lowest brackets of units of electricity consumed who are hardest hit by the tariff hike.

Ratnayake has also challenged the process by which the PUCSL has purportedly approved the tariff hike proposed by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) contrary to established legal procedures.

The approval of the PUCSL is a necessary requirement for a change in tariffs, Ratnayake said, adding that there was no such lawful approval of the commission given to the proposal. He as further stated that the purported approval given by the commission is an unlawful decision of three of its members and not a decision of the commission.

The second basis of the challenge is that the PUCSL is duty-bound to ensure that the interests of all citizens are met when approving a change in tariffs, Ratnayake’s statement added. A tariff that disproportionately affects those within lower usage brackets would put those at the lowest income levels at risk of disconnection making even the limited units of electricity consumed by them for basic necessities inaccessible, he emphasized.

Ratnayake urges in his petition that the most economically generated hydro-based electricity alone would be more than sufficient to service all domestic consumers within the 0-30, 31-60 and 61-90 bands, with a significant portion of such electricity remaining for distribution among other categories.

Thus, it is unreasonable that consumers within these brackets are made to pay the price of electricity generated at a much higher cost, according to the PUCSL Chairman.Ratnayake said that his instructing attorney was Mohan Balendra and his legal counsel were Suren Fernando and his team of lawyers.


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